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On open left, yesterday, David Sirota posted an article about how there are 60 Democrats in the House who have called any bill without a public option "unacceptable".  And to be sure, there are.  There was a big drive organized by a coalition on the left back in August and it breathed new life back into the public option.  64 House Democrats signed a letter saying that exactly that - that such a bill is "unacceptable."

And then, David quoted from the letter:

Any bill that does not provide, at a minimum, for a public option with reimbursement rates based on Medicare rates - not negotiated rates - is unacceptable. [emphasis mine.]

David claims that stating that something is "unacceptable" obviously means that the members will vote against any such thing, no matter what.  Without the context of the current debate and the monumental logjam that has pervaded our health insurance policy for more that half a century, that may even be a reasonable assumption.  Based on that, David Sirota claims it more than likely that a bill coming out of Conference without a public option will not be able to pass in the House.

Now, let's read that again, shall we?  These progressive representatives signed a letter not only saying that a bill without a public option is unacceptable, but that the public option must have its rates based on Medicare reimbursement rates.

Here is David's problem.  The House bill that passed contained a public option, but it did not base its rates on Medicare.  In fact, it had exactly what the letter said could not be supported - negotiated rates.  Now, here is the full tally of the House vote.  And here are the members who both signed the letter saying negotiated rates are "unacceptable" and then voted for a bill with negotiated rates:

  1. Corrine Brown
  2. Albio Sires
  3. Alcee Hastings
  4. Andre Carson
  5. Barbara Lee
  6. Barney Frank
  7. Bennie Thompson
  8. Bill Delahunt
  9. Bill Pascrell
  10. Bob Filner
  11. Carolyn Kilpatrick
  12. Carolyn Maloney
  13. Chaka Fattah
  14. Chellie Pingree
  15. Diane Watson
  16. Donald Payne
  17. Donna Edwards
  18. Earl Blumenauer
  19. Ed Towns
  20. Eddie Bernice Johnson
  21. Elijah Cummings
  22. Emanuel Cleaver
  23. Pete Stark
  24. Grace Napolitano
  25. Gwen Moore
  26. Hank Johnson
  27. Jackie Spier
  28. Jerry Nadler
  29. Jesse Jackson, Jr.
  30. Jim McDermott
  31. Jim McGovern
  32. John Conyers
  33. John Olver
  34. John Tierney
  35. John Yarmuth
  36. Jose Serrano
  37. Judy Chu
  38. Keith Ellison
  39. Laura Richardson
  40. Linda Sanchez
  41. Lloyd Doggett
  42. Lucille Roybal-Alard
  43. Luis Gutierrez
  44. Lynn Woolsey
  45. Marcia Fudge
  46. Marcy Kaptur
  47. Maurice Hinchey
  48. Maxine Waters
  49. Mazie Hirono
  50. Mel Watt
  51. Michael Honda
  52. Mike Capuano
  53. Nydia Velazquez
  54. Peter DeFazio
  55. Phil Hare
  56. Raul Grijalva
  57. Robert Wexler
  58. Rush Holt
  59. Sam Farr
  60. Sheila Jackson Lee
  61. William Lacy Clay
  62. Yvette Clarke

In other words, all but two (Kucinich and Massa) signatories to the letter that defined a negotiated-rate public option as "unacceptable" voted for the House bill with a negotiated-rate public option.  I applaud them for doing so.  They understood the usefulness of the letter - to breathe new life into the public option and ensure that the House bill included one.  But these are true progressives who actually want progress - they want us to move forward as a country.  And for that, they voted for a bill even though it didn't include a Medicare-rate-based public option.  They, I suspect, will do so again for a bill that does not, unfortunately, include the public option but will advance the cause of health insurance reform.  Plus, purely politically speaking, a bill without a public option is also likely to pick up additional Conserva-Dem votes.

Look, I am a true blue supporter of the public option.  I wanted it badly.  But I have to accept reality.  I have to accept that a bill including the public option will not get 60 votes to break a filibuster in the Senate.  But that does not mean I am willing to give up on health insurance reform that will insure 31 million additional Americans, vastly expand Community Health Centers, put sensible regulations in place for insurance companies to follow, and will help stop medical costs from driving people into bankruptcy.  And I don't think progressive members of Congress are willing to give up either.  They are true fighters.  And they are real doers.  They will pass what can be passed now, and continue to wage the struggle to make it better the day after the bill becomes law.

Originally posted to deaniac83 on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 12:53 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I guess David (13+ / 0-)

    overlooked the facts on this vote.
    I hope he corrects his thesis.

  •  David forgot that the 64 signing the letter (12+ / 0-)

    are politicans. He may have also forgotten that politicans position and reposition to gain an eventual position with which s/he can live.

    I believed, but I'm damn glad it is now reality.

    by alasmoses on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 01:02:53 PM PST

  •  Well reasoned diary... (7+ / 0-)

    and I agree with it completely.

  •  you don't understand negotiations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I can't speak for David Sirota, but there are lots of fights left coming up in conference besides the public option. In most respects the House bill is superior to the Senate bill.

    It would be advantageous to have a few dozen House Democrats warning that they won't be able to vote for the Senate bill without substantial changes. That way they will get something in conference in exchange for dropping the public option.

    If all the House Democrats say they'll vote for health care reform no matter what, the bill will get steadily worse in conference.

    Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

    by desmoinesdem on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 01:24:17 PM PST

    •  No, I understand negotiations just fine (7+ / 0-)

      But David has a singular thesis that he bases his argument on - that because those members signed a letter saying a bill without a public option is unacceptable will mean their NO votes on a conference bill without one.  Which is of course selective.  That's my point.

      I'm not saying the Dems should say - or even should - vote for any bill no matter what.  But to think that the bill out of conference will include a public option because of any amount of pressure is sheer fantasy.  Everything else will be at play, but the public option, sadly won't be unless Reid comes up with some awesome legislative trick to beat Lieberman, Nelson and the gang.

      •  David's approach (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        may not be right in every respect, but it would certainly get us a better deal in conference than the approach of having all Democrats hail the wonderful, historic victory of passing the Senate bill.

        We need more Democrats willing to say out loud that the Senate bill is reform in name only.

        Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

        by desmoinesdem on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 01:34:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  that said, signing the letter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, andrewj54

    with no intention of following through was stupid on the part of the House Progressives. You can't be a successful negotiator if you are not willing to walk away from the table when you promised to.

    Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

    by desmoinesdem on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 01:25:36 PM PST

    •  It wasn't stupid at all. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew, deaniac83, luckylizard

      It was smart politics for them. It shut the screaming left up for a time - and sure, they knew that they would have to cave in the end, but they also knew they'd be forgiven by voters before November 2010 because by that time, passing health care reform would be seen as a win by all Democrats. And that's exactly what will happen in the end.

      House Progressives aren't stupid. They know what has enough votes to pass in the Senate and they know that they aren't going to get what they want. They played this right and they'll benefit in the end.

      And I finished this letter with unshakable faith that the dream will be fulfilled for this generation, and preserved and enlarged for generations to come.

      by Elise on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 05:23:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  this whole "make it better later" argument (4+ / 0-)

    makes no sense to me. Please explain to me where the political momentum will materialize to improve on this bill next year, after Obama signs "the most important progressive legislation in a generation" or whatever he's going to call it when he declares victory.

    Obama wanted to do health care reform without making the drug and insurance companies angry. So next year he will get behind new bills on drug re-importation or letting Medicare negotiate for lower rates?

    Key elements of the bill don't go into effect until 2014. I find it really hard to believe the White House will support Democrats trying to improve it before then. We will hear, "Hang on, give this bill a chance. Let's see if it's working, and if not, we can improve it in 2015 or 2016."

    Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

    by desmoinesdem on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 01:28:39 PM PST

    •  It's crap. It's designed to sucker Progressives (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pletzs, desmoinesdem, tle, shaharazade

      into giving up their winning position, that's all it is.

      We don't have to pass and own bad legislation.  They picked this fight by not actually pushing real reform.  They are the ones that are trying to wrap corporate largess with the idea of insuring lots of people.

      Fuck, the idea of insuring lots of people will happen no matter what, or we've got no legislation!!

      That's not a bargaining point, because it needs to happen anyway.

      We need our Public Option as cost control, and it needs to be robust enough to act as that cost control, or this won't be worth doing.

      That threat needs to be real, or it's not going to bring them to the table to deal fair and square.

      No risk, no reward people.


      by potatohead on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 03:03:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  perhaps so, but doing nothing will shelve it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      N in Seattle, second gen

      for a generation. passing it gives the chance to fix things later. And there will be much to tweak, even in the infrastructure of it there are mechanisms in place to tweak it. So it's nonsensical to say they won't be revisiting it at all.

      •  With mandate only (0+ / 0-)

        later will be a very long time.

        No American with a brain will want to let Democrats try this again after locking them into expensive, for profit insurance.

        And the House Progressives hold the key to this.  They don't have to sign on to mandate only.

        If conservadems want mandate only, let them go get Republicans to help them.  That is the kind of thing they do, not us.


        by potatohead on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 05:02:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  okey dokey dude (0+ / 0-)

          you must be right because you say so, since I see no factual evidence that your predictions will come true.

          Respectfully disagree, but you're entitled to your view, whether your predictions pan out or not.

          •  LOL!! Go poll your friends on mandate only (0+ / 0-)

            I know NOBODY who isn't just pissed about it.

            Every Republican I've spoken to is already working up the "see?  Now look what Democrats did!" framing, and sadly, without cost controls they will be right about it.

            Coin Operated Democrats are considering huge corporate largess because they don't have the balls to actually regulate insurers, and that's a fact.

            The mandate will be the gift that keeps on giving, year after year, if it does not have firm cost control associated with it.

            Count on that.

            Yeah, but you go ahead and drink it up.  Get a full glass, and maybe feel good about a huge giveaway wrapped in "victory" gift wrap.


            by potatohead on Sat Dec 26, 2009 at 01:06:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  It actually can work, or at least it used to (0+ / 0-)

      One of my grandparents was a state legislator some years ago, and passed down a story about how legislation like this works. The progressive camp would often try pushing a bill, but they wouldn't get all of what they wanted in it. That was always a disappointment. However, they voted for it anyway.

      Then, the next session, they passed a bill that got them what they wanted. The opposition seemed to either not notice or not care. Now granted, this was a state legislature some forty to fifty years ago, so perhaps things are very different now in the Congress. But at the very least, this kind of thing worked somewhere at some point in recent history.

  •  don't think I would have called out Sirota (4+ / 0-)

    At least, not only Sirota.

    There are many who fail to understand that politics is give-and-take, compromise, getting what you can under the circumstances of the day.

    Then again, the great majority of such people aren't professional pundits.  So maybe naming Sirota is OK after all.

    grok the "edku" -- edscan's "revelation", 21 January 2009

    by N in Seattle on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 02:02:47 PM PST

    •  Well, he is the one that posted the fantasy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      N in Seattle, kafkananda, luckylizard

      on Open Left.  So I called him out.  It is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of who should be called out.

    •  So, when do Corporate Dems do the giving? (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah, thought so.

      They can do it right about now, or go asking Republicans for votes to help them screw the people, because Progressives simply don't have to do that.

      We've got the high ground here, and we've leverage to go with it.

      If anybody here thinks they are not playing just as hard of ball, think again.

      That is what all the pressure to cave is about.  We have the high ground and their only real strategy is to either give something up to balance the legislation, like maybe lose the mandate if there are no cost controls, or let us put the Public Option in for cost control, or convince us to give up our point of leverage.

      They are pushing really hard to get us to give it up, because that's easiest for them, and it forces us to own bad legislation with them, meaning we all own it when the people push back for being mandated to buy private insurance with no cost control.

      Whoever passes that is going to be held accountable.

      That isn't going to be Progressives because we simply don't have to do it.


      by potatohead on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 03:07:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not Fantasy: They don't have to vote for crap. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    If the Conservadems want to screw the American people with a huge dish of corporate largess, let them!!

    They can walk across the aisle and ask Republicans for their help doing it!!


    Not gonna happen, is it?


    Because the Republicans don't want to own any part of health care.  If it is a success, their ideological platform is invalidated.  If it's a failure, then they are validated and can run against it to build power.

    If it's a failure and they helped push it through, they own it too!!  That makes running against a "bi-partisan" bill really ugly doesn't it?

    Hell yes it does.

    So they won't vote period.  They will flirt with votes in an attempt to get us to pass a shit bill.  That's good for them, and not us.

    Both parties know this.

    If a bill fails to pass, it's Conservadems on the hook, not Progressives, because Progressives are not the ones trying to force bad legislation through are they?

    So Conservadems would own that failure, meaning both Progressives and Republicans could run against them and, interestingly, be right about it too!

    They lose huge there.

    That leaves getting that Progressive vote.

    We don't have to pass crap and we have a majority public support position, they need our vote, they've got no outs that don't cost them a ton, so all we have to do is press for equitable legislation.

    The only way Progressives lose is if they get suckered into voting for a bad bill.

    So we just don't do that, and Sirota sees this.  He knows where the leverage is, and it's in the house!!

    We've not been in this position before.  We have a solid opportunity, that is ours to lose, to get Progressive reform through this time, and we need to do that, or we've not yet grown mature enough as a movement to matter.

    That's reality right there, not fantasy.


    by potatohead on Fri Dec 25, 2009 at 03:01:17 PM PST

  •  I notice he doesn't seem to post (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deaniac83, luckylizard, Theston

    here much anymore.  He's a pretty thin-skinned jerk anyway.  I responded to one of his diaries here and he told me to f-off.

  •  Ouch. Yet another diary painfully (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deaniac83, Elise, luckylizard

    stating the obvious facts in the matter.

    This just won't do. Not at all. It's Christmas Day, is it not? Let's get back to Santa Claus and such matters.

    •  I like how (0+ / 0-)

      you guys with your 'call outs' to the progressive community and writers always say that your opinions are FACTS, while activists are in fantasy land. If this is the case why bother to call them out and shout them down and run them off? Very undemocratic and it reeks of the same fanaticism of the wing nuts you are so afraid of.

      David Sirota has been an advocate for fair trade and against the disastrous 'free market' and 'inevitable' globalism for years. Listen to you all and you call people 'haters' and purists. Your facts are not my facts or anyone else's they are just political fictions you use in your role as apologists/supporters/enablers for the 'leaders' who you blindly parrot. We need people like David Sirota if only to balance out the people who refuse to  even look at what they are supporting in any other light except for their talking points they call facts..        

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